A few years ago I was talking to a senior pastor about youth ministry. In a moment of honesty he said something like this.
“I don’t get it. Tell me why you want to work with high school students your whole life. You’re qualified to be a senior pastor. You have all the qualities people look for in a senior pastor. And your teaching style moves high school students to a type of faith that most churches would love. Plus, you could be the boss and you’d make a lot more money. What don’t I see?”
The truth was that it took me by surprise because I’d never been asked that question. I’ve only been asked it’s annoying cousin, “When are you going to be a “real” pastor?”
Here’s a summary of what I told him:
- I love the process. In the 5-6 years that you have a student in your ministry you see them go from squirrelly middle schooler to mostly grown up.
- I love that adolescents are moldable. The reason you can teach them radical truths and they will respond is pretty amazing. You just don’t see many adults looking for truth to move them.
- I love the fun factor. When was the last time you’ve preached to adults and illustrated something by covering a kid in shaving cream or dunking for oreos in chocolate syrup. Like never. There’s a middle schooler in me that is highly amused by this kinesthetic goofy learning stuff. Adults just don’t go for it.
- I love that it doesn’t end unless you want it to. Seriously, this is a beautiful time of year. I love the longitudinal factor of youth ministry. And I love the fact that you can chose to continue investing in some students while having a perfectly good excuse to move them out of your life. You can’t do that as a senior pastor, can you?
How would you have answered this question?